Horizon:Volume 1 Chapter 20
Chapter 20: Graduates Under the Moon
only answer me
Point Allocation (Heroine)
Under the night sky, people were gathered on the ships moored at the bottom of a mountain.
Aboard those eight ships that made up a giant city, people stood on the bows of the various ships or on the long, thick ropes holding the ships in place.
Everyone was looking south, toward Mikawa.
They were all watching the great change occurring in Mikawa. And they muttered to each other.
Just as someone had said, the light which had been released into the air from the earth beyond the mountains was now gone.
The distant pulsating sound which they had heard through the air was gone as well.
Someone asked that question, and it spread from person to person; but no one had an answer.
As they all asked questions and expressed their doubts, Masazumi walked with an automaton.
While Masazumi pulled on her hand, P-01s had Masazumi’s coat over her head. The bottom of the coat fluttered at her back.
“Masazumi-sama, aren’t you cold?”
“I’m fine,” said Masazumi as she walked on the path to the surface shopping district. Everyone they passed was walking toward the front of the ship where the Mikawa area was visible. However, Masazumi was hurrying away from there.
This is awful, thought Masazumi. I haven’t the slightest clue what I should do.
She had learned a lot that day.
She had learned about Remorse Way, the Logismoi Óplo, and the identity of P-01s.
The automaton whose hand she was currently holding was not technically an automaton.
She was a human with an automaton body and based on the soul of Matsudaira Motonobu’s daughter, Horizon.
But, thought Masazumi. The Logismoi Óplo distributed to the world were created from her emotions.
Her emotions had been used as a component to create those weapons of mass destruction which were based on humanity’s original sin. Masazumi did not know why that had been done, but she did know one thing.
…The world is on the move.
The ruler of Mikawa, Lord Motonobu, was now silent; but he had said one thing during the previous divine transmission: if someone obtained all of the Logismoi Óplo, they would gain the power to influence the Apocalypse.
In that case, the person being pulled along by her hand could influence the fate of the world.
And Masazumi had no idea what to do with her. After hearing Motonobu’s divine transmission, she had reflexively covered P-01s with her coat and taken her here.
She was Lord Motonobu’s daughter as well as…
…The girl that father and the others said Aoi killed.
She did not know what that meant and asking P-01s would not help as she had no memories.
Not knowing what to do, Masazumi had decided to ask for advice from the woman owner of the snack shop. However…
Masazumi stopped when P-01s spoke to her. They were just about to enter the shopping district. They were currently in a business district, so there were not many people around.
She turned around to find P-01s with her face hidden by the coat and her bangs.
“I am not actually P-01s, am I?”
She was looking directly at Masazumi.
As P-01s stared with a blank lack of expression, Masazumi could see her own eyes reflected in hers.
“I do not know.”
“I was referred to as Horizon,” said P-01s. “But then what should I do as Horizon?”
P-01s’s question left Masazumi at a loss for words.
How was she supposed to answer that?
She would likely be controlled by the Testament Union and the Far East for the rest of her life. Masazumi did not know exactly how that would play out, but being the heir to Mikawa and a Logismoi Óplo was more than enough reason to rob her of any freedom.
But, thought Masazumi. Does she want a future like that?
The P-01s Masazumi knew was an automaton that was always standing behind the counter or cleaning the front of the store or the graveyard. She and the shop owner had searched for where she had come from, but P-01s had ultimately chosen a peaceful life and that was what the others wanted as well.
But all of that would be taken away.
Masazumi started to say something and then had a sudden thought.
…What do I think?
She had acted based on her hopes to inherit the position given by the name Honda Masazumi, but it had been impossible in the end.
However, the girl before her eyes had been given a large role in the world even though she did not want it.
As someone who had desired a role like that, shouldn’t she be jealous of her?
She was Horizon Ariadust. She was Matsudaira Motonobu’s heir, the base for the Logismoi Óplo, and a girl who had been made into an automaton.
But how could she be accurately described using those terms?
Masazumi knew her as nothing more than a snack shop’s automaton.
And so Masazumi opened her mouth, hesitated, and tried to say something.
And just as she did, she heard distant voices.
This was a business district, so there was no one around at night. What she heard was…
In every direction of that cityscape, she heard countless voices rising into the sky from the distant residential districts.
As if drawn by those voices, Masazumi looked up into the sky.
And she saw a giant shadow directly above in the night sky.
It was the shadow of a flying ship. It was the lead ship of the guard unit sent from Mikawa.
As Masazumi saw the shadow of that ship floating in the night sky, she heard a new sound.
It came from Musashi’s external speakers. The amplified voice of an automaton spoke into the air.
“Musashi bridge to lead guard ship. You have left your scheduled course. Also, ships are obligated to remain more than six hundred yards from each other. That is all.”
However, the automaton’s warning did not stop the approach of the guard unit’s lead ship.
Instead, the ship replied with a slightly staticky voice.
“Mikawa-owned Musashi lead guard ship to Musashi. We are here on emergency duty given by the Testament Union representative for this land. If you have any complaints, send them to the K.P.A. Italia contingent as they are the aforementioned representative.”
The guard ship reduced its speed and lowered down from above.
A number of ropes dropped down from its deck and over its side.
Figures stood on the edge of the deck above the ropes. They were armed and wore Far East uniforms.
…It can’t be!
“On the request of this land’s Testament Union representative, we will secure the Logismoi Óplo. We request Musashi’s assistance.”
As the guard ship made that announcement, countless figures dropped down from its deck.
The first wave lowered themselves down on the ropes but let go partway down and dropped. The second wave agilely jumped down from the main deck and the side decks. The third wave was directly dropped from landing craft. In total, at least one hundred troops dropped down.
Masazumi could not see across the cityscape, but…
They were coming.
“The ether vibration pattern common to the Logismoi Óplo has been detected! This is a 90% match with the data from K.P.A. Italia headquarters… We have a visual!” shouted a voice overhead.
As Masazumi and P-01s stood in the middle of the road, a landing craft passed by overhead and armed students jumped down.
There were 16 of them. As they dropped, a torii-shaped crest appeared behind each of their backs for an instant to slow their fall.
They were positioned to surround Masazumi at a distance of about ten meters.
She took a breath and pulled strongly on the hand she held.
And then she tried to run.
Not even she knew what purpose there was in trying to flee. However…
…This is wrong.
She did not know what exactly was “wrong”. She did not even know if anything really was wrong.
The hand she pulled on did not move.
As the unit fell from the sky, that girl with her face hidden by the coat and her own bangs asked a question.
“Masazumi-sama, can you not tell me who I am or what I should do?”
P-01s thought. Horizon thought.
That previous broadcast meant she did not have most of her emotions.
…And I do not know what I should do now.
She had no memories and little knowledge.
If possible, she wanted her identity to be something she could understand.
For example, being an automaton that worked at a snack shop. It may not have been a perfect understanding, but she mostly understood that.
But this was different.
She was the daughter of the ruler of a place called Mikawa and she was a weapon of mass destruction called a Logismoi Óplo.
What should she do if that was who she was?
…I do not know.
If she had emotions, she thought she would have reacted either positively or negatively toward it.
However, she did not even have that.
And so she thought and gave voice to those thoughts.
“I am P-01s…no, Horizon,” she said. “And there may not be anything you can do for me.”
Masazumi opened her mouth reflexively when she heard those words.
She wanted to say this was no time to be saying that.
But a male voice spoke up just as the unit landed around them.
“If you wish to speak as a politician, do not make a mistake here, Masazumi.”
The voice came from directly in front. A man wearing long clothes was walking down the road toward her.
As she spoke that word, the unit took action.
She heard the sounds of weaponry and the sounds of solid shoes. As they looked cautiously around the area, that heavily moving group cut between the man and her.
However, her father continued walking and spoke.
“Masazumi, excellent work.”
A few members of the unit standing between them frantically turned around. One pulled the IZUMO-made bowl-shaped head protector deep over his eyes.
“Thank you for your cooperation,” he said as he touched her hand.
He touched the fingers that were holding P-01s’s hand.
And he removed her hand.
The automaton’s freed hand moved aimlessly through the air. However…
It pulled back.
All that remained was Masazumi’s outstretched hand.
As she slowly pulled her hand back, she saw the automaton standing stock still.
After greeting the recovery unit, Masazumi’s father circled around behind her.
“This is goodbye. When you see her again, she will hold a different position in society. How about you say something to her now for the sake of the future?”
Masazumi strongly clenched her back teeth.
Her inherited name had no future. But that automaton…
…Are you saying she has a future!?
Just when she was about to ask that, something else happened.
“In other words, this is what I am meant to do,” said the automaton. “I do not know what I should do. Knowing who I am does not tell me what to do and I cannot even leave that decision to my emotions. In that case, I should accept the identity I have been told is mine and act as history wishes me to. That is the best decision if I am to make no mistakes and not cause any problems.” She took a breath. “The best decision is to accept the name Horizon Ariadust and act as that identity would have me act.”
The retrieval unit and everyone else there turned toward her, but more because she spoke her name than because of what she was saying.
She stood still and opened the lips visible below her bangs and the coat over her head.
“I do not know who I am as Horizon, but I understand that the current situation is telling me what I should do. If I am indeed Horizon, the daughter of the ruler of Mikawa…”
She raised her head before Masazumi.
The coat fell from her head and to her shoulders, revealing her face.
Her expressionless face had white skin and eyes that appeared fixed in place. That was the same face as always.
Automatons had no emotions.
Even if they had a soul, emotions were a different matter. They could gain emulated emotions from their knowledge and experiences, but she did not have the experience required for that.
However, her expressionless lips parted and produced words.
“…then I intellectually know who I am. In a time of emergency, one who rules a country will give up his or her life to take responsibility and let his or her people live on.”
Masazumi opened her mouth in response. She hung her head down in front of Horizon.
She could not bring herself to say “not true”.
This was the world of the warring states. It was often done in the form of retirement or expulsion, but it was not unusual for responsible parties to commit “suicide”. Some truly did commit suicide and some, like Motonobu’s son Lord Nobuyasu, were forced into it.
…What can I say to comfort her?
Masazumi could not come up with an answer, so she remained silent.
And amid that silence, a female member of the unit dropped down from the empty landing ship while attached to a suspension device.
After checking on the work and procedure, she bowed and took Horizon’s hand.
And she began to take Horizon away.
At that exact moment, a sudden voice reached them. It came from the shopping district at the stern of the ship.
It was a boy’s voice. Masazumi turned toward the owner of the voice and broke her silence.
Masazumi saw a few people run in from the shopping district.
The person at the front of the group shouted out.
It was the boy named Aoi Toori who was nearly tripping as he ran.
He was not running particularly quickly, but he reached out with his arms in his desire to move forward and his body was tilting forward. His disheveled hair and lowered head hid his expression.
But his voice was clear.
After crossing the long block between the shopping district and the business district, he was more or less there. When the lights of the long block lit them up from the front, Masazumi realized they were all her classmates.
She saw Aoi, Urquiaga, Neshinbara, and Noriki.
Seeing them, Masazumi opened her eyes in self-realization.
She had learned a lot on this day. And…
…Had you realized it!?
Everyone aboard Musashi had been told that P-01s was Horizon during the earlier broadcast.
…But why can you use that name so soon?
Using that name made it sound like he had always known she was Horizon.
As if to reject any possible answer, nearby guards frantically began to run over to Aoi and the others. Their initial reaction was to run over and the commander of the unit spread out his arms to block the students’ path.
“Wait! Stay back!!” shouted Neshinbara from behind Aoi. “The president of Musashi and of the student council has merely come to greet the household of Mikawa!!”
He was the president of both Musashi’s Academy and its student council. He may have been called useless and incompetent, but he still had authority. And so the men running over hesitated and lowered their speed.
As if in response, Urquiaga and Noriki took a step forward and cut in.
“Open a path!”
The two of them created a path by using their running momentum to push aside the guards on the left and right.
There were now fewer than ten meters between Aoi and Horizon.
And when he stretched out his arm, Aoi and the other three were quickly defeated by some figures who fell down from the sky.
They were a unit from K.P.A. Italia.
They had arrived by way of an overhead landing ship from the Musashi guard ship.
They wore light armor and their faces were visible beneath protective headgear. All of them were in their twenties or thirties. Their builds were different from those of the Musashi students, as was the way they held their arms and legs.
Urquiaga was gigantic and had muscular strength on the level of the demon race, but he was unable to move when four of them held down the joints of his limbs. The only one who managed to act was Noriki. He immediately escaped the men restraining him and…
Torii-shaped crests appeared on both his arms and he sent high-speed blows into the K.P.A. Italia commander.
Two clear sounds rang out.
However, the commander showed no concern. Finally, he tilted his head.
“Now that’s a light blow!” he said while sending a fist back at Noriki.
The man’s fist jabbed upwards directly into Noriki’s gut.
Air burst from Noriki’s mouth and he doubled over. The commander then slammed his fist into the top of Noriki’s head to send his slender body to the ground.
He instructed his nearby men to restrain Noriki.
“I am glad you came. On the Testament Union’s instructions, I would like to transfer your authority here. And…”
“Are you taking Horizon away!?” cried Toori.
One of the men holding him down moved.
The man holding Toori’s right arm bent that arm behind Toori’s back until it creaked. He then pushed.
He intended to dislocate the shoulder and he showed no sign of hesitation. He took action all at once.
To endure it, Toori changed his position and tried to lift his hips up. However…
The other two holding him slammed him into the ground.
His arm stretched out all at once, the joint twisted, and Toori’s mouth opened.
A noise halfway between a breath and a voice came out.
“I have determined that is meaningless.”
Horizon’s voice brought it all to a stop.
Masazumi wordlessly looked toward Horizon who stood in front of her.
She looked at her expressionless face and eyes. She looked the same as always, but she was holding a book out toward Masazumi.
The book contained the words and actions of leaders and politicians.
Masazumi took the book and Horizon spoke.
“I merely have to do what that book described, correct? I can learn from the patterns of the past.”
“To be blunt, I can guess that this commotion would not have occurred if I had been quickly secured as a leader. I do not think dragging this out with this sort of commotion is the best plan.”
“Then why did this happen? Are you saying you don’t know this guy?” asked the commander.
Horizon looked straight back at him.
“Once I am secured, I will have no connection to him. …Does anything else matter?” She took a breath. “I have determined that this sort of commotion will not occur again once I have been secured. Please hurry. This should be enough. Or do you hope to injure those aboard Musashi by delaying my capture? To be honest, that is not the best decision.”
Masazumi could tell a few of her lines were identical to ones written in the book she held.
…She is carrying out the “best decision” based on what is written in this book.
She had wanted to know what to do as a ruler. Masazumi could tell that she was desperately making use of the knowledge she had of the past.
As Horizon mixed together lines from the past, the K.P.A. Italia commander finally spoke.
“Testament,” he answered.
As he did, Masazumi heard another low, trembling, and muffled voice. It was a groan coming from Aoi as he was pressed against the ground.
He struggled and raised his head, but the men hurriedly pushed it back down.
“Listen, Horizon. I…”
And just as Aoi said that, Masazumi saw something out of the corner of her eye: The K.P.A. Italia commander clicked his tongue and raised his right hand. He held up his fingers in preparation to snap them. And once he did…
Just as that thought came to her, her father whispered in her ear as if to urge her on.
“Did you know?” he asked. “It seems the reason Horizon Ariadust was hit by Lord Motonobu’s carriage was because of a fight with a certain boy. She was hit after running away from that fight. The boy tried to save her, but failed. Do you know who that boy was?”
After the things she had learned today, she knew
That boy had arrived this time as well, but had once more been unable to reach her.
And she realized something else. That afternoon when she had felt cornered in her conversation with her father in that carriage, he had leaped in as if to save her.
She did not know why, but this was the same. Aoi was trying to save someone, and yet…
Masazumi shook her head.
No. This won’t work, thought Masazumi. The significance of the situation is just too different.
If Aoi continued speaking here and had his shoulder dislocated, not only would he be injured, but it would create a certain problem. The wound would remain as proof that the Far East had opposed the Testament Union’s decision.
A single hasty action could endanger an entire nation. And right now, Aoi was…
“I want to…!”
He spoke and the commander snapped his fingers. At the same moment, Masazumi charged forward.
She had made her decision in an instant.
She ran through the valley-like space between the Far East guards and the K.P.A. Italia guards.
“Shut up, you idiot!”
The K.P.A. Italia commander noticed her, but she took action before he could give any orders. Fortunately, the Far East guards were hesitant to approach the Testament Union ones and the all the Testament Union guards except the commander were busy restraining the others.
Masazumi kicked Aoi in the head as he tried to speak.
She did not know if this was the right decision or not, but she knew one thing about the method he was using.
…That won’t save anyone right now!
She doubted her method was the best, but at the very least, it would save Aoi and the Far East.
And so she threw the kick.
It hit. Masazumi was not a skilled fighter, but she knew what that kick would do.
Aoi’s head shook and finally…
His body went limp.
He was unconscious, so he could no longer speak. As if to prove it, the mobile shell-wearing men holding him down relaxed.
And then silence fell once more.
However, this renewed silence was quickly broken.
The lack of sound was first destroyed by muttering. Distant voices were heard in the direction of the bow.
Next came light, a trembling, a movement of the air, and finally a distinct voice.
“Hey,” said someone as if taking in a breath. “Mikawa has…”
“It has stopped, hasn’t it?”
A girl’s voice could be heard in the broken city.
After being broken into countless pieces, no light came from the city. The only illumination came from the two moons overhead and the reflections of their light.
Two things in the city reflected the moonlight.
The first were the two false arms of the girl standing unmoving while carrying a young man. The second was the spear held by the man facing her.
The girl adjusted her support of the young man’s back and spoke to the man facing her.
“Who won, Tadakatsu-sama?”
“I did of course, Tachibana Gin,” said Tadakatsu in a slightly hoarse voice. As he adjusted his stance, a sound similar to spilling water was scattered across the ground around him. “The ley line reactor wasn’t destroyed and I can still move.”
He gestured to the northwest with his chin. Both the city and New Nagoya Castle were destroyed there, but that destruction was limited to the bottom of the city and the top of the castle.
The barriers from the surface of New Nagoya Castle and a few blocks deep had been torn apart, but the inside was safe. The ley line reactor had not been destroyed. There was one major reason for that.
“Did you cut the Logismoi Óplo’s attack with Tonbokiri? That must have taken incredible skill.”
“It wasn’t hard. I just had Kazuno absorb it and then directly cut her. I tested that thing, if you recall. I can’t get rid of the attack altogether, but I can cut if I get the timing right.”
“As a result, the attack wasn’t enough to destroy the ley line reactor, so I win. This is the short silence before the collapse, but all of this will be gone soon. You take him and leave.”
“Then you need to evacuate as well.”
“Can you carry that young guy and me at the same time?”
As Tadakatsu spoke, a dark red puddle was forming below his feet.
His leg and foot had been horribly gouged out and the steam of his body heat was constantly rising from it. When he had cut the tearing of Lypē Katathlipsē, his leg had been taken out by it.
“I am sorry,” said Gin while suddenly lowering her head.
Tadakatsu laughed as his blood spilled to the ground.
“Well, this is part of the job, too. And because I did a good job, Mikawa will soon disappear. That’s all there is to it.”
“Why does Lord Motonobu insist on destroying Mikawa with the ley line meltdown?”
“You heard what he said, right? This is the Genesis Project. The Genesis exam question can be answered with the Logismoi Óplo and the other teaching materials. And if you want to cheat and get a head start on everyone else…” He took a breath. “Then you can fight me.”
“Do not joke. I…”
“You are Tachibana Gin. …You are the daughter of Tachibana Dousetsu, master of Tachibana Muneshige. The Testament descriptions say you were forced to succeed Dousetsu because of your excellent combat skill.”
Gin half-closed her eyes as she listened to Tadakatsu, but she did not avert her gaze.
“Ultimately, my father accepted Muneshige-sama into the family as my husband and let him take the surname Tachibana. That was the decision.”
“None of that means you’re weak.”
“Unfortunately,” said Gin. “The higher ups have banned me from engaging in combat.”
Her uniform had a few different pieces of equipment attached and she used a finger of one false arm to press the controller crest on her side. With a light sound of air, various parts of her uniform entered a mode where they would harden when under pressure.
“Muneshige-sama fights enough for the two of us. He is a child who loves fighting.”
“Hey,” said Tadakatsu. He glanced around the area. “Did you decide to come here yourself?”
“No. I am not a child, so I asked for permission. …Although I did arrive before I received a response.”
As she spoke, Gin used her right false arm to drape Muneshige over her shoulder. He let out a small groan and his weight was supported by the hardening of her uniform.
Immediately afterward, Tadakatsu took action.
He still stood in the same place while holding Tonbokiri, but his gaze definitely moved toward Gin and Muneshige.
But his movement stopped there.
A cannon had appeared in the space between him and Gin.
That two meter cannon resembled a cross and floated in midair.
“My false arms contain a Duet Space. I have pulled this Arcabuz Cruz from there,” explained Gin. “The higher ups do not permit me to fight. If you insist on fighting, I will use this as a shield and retreat.”
Tadakatsu drew back and Gin had the cannon absorbed into the air.
“You will be dropping out of school now, won’t you?” she asked.
“Can’t you call it quitting while I’m ahead?”
“Even if you drop out here, the rules of heredity still apply. Muneshige-sama might have an opportunity to fight the second Tadakatsu-sama.”
“That guy really doesn’t like to lose, does he?”
“Do you need a mirror to look in? I have a hand-mirror you could use,” said Gin as she took a step back.
Even as she left, she did not take her eyes off of Tadakatsu.
As she watched, he smiled.
“Go. I’ll leave the battle to the next one. …I always wanted to battle your father, though. What a shame.”
“My father would often say the same. It was something about a grudge over you stealing the position of the main character for an Izumo divine transmission anime.”
“Oh, Cutting World Hondalia? That’s about a new breed of human that immediately tries to cut anything and everything. The main character cuts castles, gods of war, and continents. Whenever he sees a man, he wants to circumcise him. To be honest, it’s nothing but trouble for me. When I pass by a child in town, they run away shouting ‘Wah! I’m going to be made into an adult!’.”
“But it is even more trouble for my father. He was made into the uninteresting turtleneck-wearing rival character. Whenever he passes by a child, they shout ‘Ueno! Go to Ueno!’ and continue to repeat that holy land of the god of circumcision.”
“Kids sure are cruel. Tell him to get ready because the movie’ll be out soon.”
“I will,” said Gin while smiling for the first time and bowing.
Doing so shook Muneshige on her shoulder. And then…
A dull sound came from the ground and the two remained silent for about two seconds. Finally, Tadakatsu spoke.
“Hey, his head hit that rock pretty hard. And now he’s kind of shaking…”
“N-no. Muneshige-sama’s body is soft. You could…um, you could call this a consumption tax on the battle.”
“Oh, so Tres España has started charging consumption taxes? Make sure to pay it off exactly afterward. Also…”
Tadakatsu threw Tonbokiri toward Gin. She caught it in her empty false arm and frowned.
“What are you doing?”
“If he wants a rematch, he can’t have this blown away along with Mikawa. It may not be a Logismoi Óplo, but it’s still a divine weapon. It won’t be an even fight against that boy without this.”
“Testament,” said Gin as she held Tonbokiri up to test its weight.
She took a step backwards, then another, and another.
“I pray it will be an excellent rematch.”
With those words, Gin disappeared. She accelerated and the distance quickly grew.
Tadakatsu was left all alone.
He turned behind him.
A group was seated around the main western entrance of New Nagoya Castle.
It was Matsudaira Motonobu and the automatons.
While spilling blood from his entire body, Honda Tadakatsu walked toward the group seated in front of New Nagoya Castle.
With each step he took, damp spots fell to the ground, but he continued nonetheless. And…
“Hey there, teacher.”
He brought the left of his two empty hands up to his mouth.
“Can I and this join you?”
“Minors may not drink alcohol.”
Tadakatsu’s shoulders relaxed as he heard that voice and saw the automaton’s smile. He continued walking through the soundless, lightless, and empty city.
“Teacher, I’m dropping out.”
“Do not worry. Ii and Sakakibara were pretty much the same.”
“So that just leaves that idiot Sakai. …He always does really well for being an idiot.”
“That he does,” said Motonobu as he looked up toward the heavens.
Two moons could be seen in the sky.
“This is a good night for drinking while viewing the moon.”
“If this were a Japanese lesson, I would have you write a haiku. Look, the moons are floating in the sake cup. The moons are the surface of the sake. …That was pretty cool, wasn’t it?” Motonobu then turned toward Tadakatsu. “But who do you think will achieve Genesis?”
“How should I know? I’m not very smart. You’re the one that passed out the materials, so don’t you know?”
“Not at all. I only prepared those teaching materials. I do not know if they are enough on their own. I did not create a direct path to Genesis.” He took a breath. “I only prepared the materials I could. It is up to everyone else to use them or not. What matters is that everyone gives thought to the Apocalypse. All I did was give a few hints.”
“Oh, c’mon. You’re giving a lecture even as Mikawa disappears? Now I regret being the only one left.”
“You get to hear my most welcome advice, so I am sure the others are extremely jealous.” Motonobu stood up. “What will happen with Genesis? What will become of the Apocalypse? Even if the different countries have begun to move, there will still be a lot of people who are asleep, have not noticed, or are unconscious. I want to see how this turns out. I really do.” He turned toward Tadakatsu and showed his teeth in a smile. “But all of us here will take the first step. Participation is better than watching. Experimentation is better than observation. Battle is better than viewing. In that case, I have to charge in at the lead. And…”
Motonobu held up his microphone.
“Class is about to begin.”
In the next instant, New Nagoya Castle was annihilated in an explosion.
Tadakatsu smiled as he saw the light of the explosion approach.
He could not actually tell whether he was smiling or not, but his mind that was hazy with blood loss was convinced he was smiling.
The pressure of the ether light and the approaching wall of light enveloped Motonobu and the automatons first.
For an instant, Tadakatsu saw Motonobu lightly waving toward him. And so he opened his mouth.
“Hey,” he said in a voice not even he could hear. “I never got my sake.”
He felt a sudden presence to his left.
He looked over and saw a woman.
He knew her and had often enjoyed verbal exchanges resembling arguments with her.
She held a filled sake cup toward him with a smile. He smiled bitterly back.
“It’s still too soon for you to show up.”
He took the cup.
He could see the moons reflected in the cup.
It’s just as he said, thought Tadakatsu.
Long ago, he had drunk sake while viewing the moon with his friends.
But this time, Tadakatsu took the jewel in his left hand and placed it in with the moons floating in the cup.
This was what he could do now.
“The finest elegance… Well, I actually don’t understand elegance enough to say for sure.”
He brought the sake cup to his mouth.
And he tasted blood. But then his consciousness suddenly cleared.
He sighed and his vision cleared as well.
He was there. He stood in an empty city with a wall of light pressure approaching.
He was holding his left hand up as if it held a sake cup. His fingertips held a bloody blue jewel.
When he noticed that, Tadakatsu smiled and held it up into the sky.
He held the jewel up alongside the two moons.
“I remember laughing long ago after telling you this: Look, the moon was already cut in two,” he said. “And you answered: Are you proposing to me because you want us to be together?”
Tadakatsu laughed. He laughed loudly. And as he looked at that blue jewel held up next to the moons, he mouthed her name.
“We will never be apart again.”
Immediately afterward, his body, his voice, and the color of the jewel were swallowed up by the light.
Mikawa was annihilated with New Nagoya Castle in the center.
The annihilation caused light, darkness, and a massive annihilation of the atmosphere. The destruction covered a diameter of about a dozen kilometers and the light was seen as far away as Oshu and Kyushu.
The explosive annihilation at the blast site in the center of Mikawa began by gouging out a hole in the earth’s crust.
It opened a hole thirteen kilometers across.
Immediately afterward, air begin surging into that large-scale opening. The air collided with itself, compressed, searched for a way out, and burst into the sky like it had been fired from a cannon barrel.
The earth’s crust at Mikawa and the city outside the annihilated area were sucked up into the air about three seconds after it began.
The wind had grown cold and white when it was compressed, so it looked like white swords were stabbing up into the night sky.
The blast reached a height of ten kilometers above the surface and wreckage from the city was scattered as far as thirty kilometers away. The movement of the atmosphere caused by the explosion led to localized rainclouds and downpours. The dust from the explosion was knocked to the ground before it could spread too far. Instead, dirty rain poured down across that narrow area.
The suburban areas and the land port had some difficulty defending against the small objects that were thrown that far and dealing with the heavy dust-filled rain. By dawn, they had been damaged a bit, but were headed toward recovery.
The next morning, the different countries began to take action and Musashi was filled with tension. Pope-Chancellor Innocentius, who had been visiting Mikawa, made a certain decision as the temporary representative of the Testament Union.
He announced that the Matsudaira family had to take responsibility for the loss of Mikawa as it was a trading port with the Middle East. Specifically, the family would be destroyed, a replacement family would inherit the name, and the Logismoi Óplo that Mikawa had kept hidden would be given to the Testament Union.
That ninth Logismoi Óplo was combined with the automaton soul of the daughter of Mikawa’s ruler.
The soul would be disassembled on Tres España’s interrogation ship and the Logismoi Óplo would be removed, but that would mean her suicide because breaking an automaton’s soul killed them.
The automaton was confirmed to be the heir to Mikawa in a summary succession check. At 6 AM, she agreed to take responsibility in her role as leader by committing suicide. To avoid any interference with the “suicide”, it would take place at Mikawa that same day.
The time was set for 6 PM.
That was the time of the automaton Horizon Ariadust’s “suicide”.
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